Storm season here — but much greater storms elsewhere, and Russian vloggers again

STOP PRESS 5.30 am 29th September: Niki has left Russia!

This is still being streamed live!

UPDATE: Live stream has ended. Niki is in Istanbul. “OMG apologies for super bad sound. What I left behind is my streaming-from-laptop setup. I’ll fix it. What started a story time, ended by random Q&A. I hope you found it interesting. THANK YOU for making this possible for me to leave at the most right time PS. I just texted my landlord and he said that THE SPIDER IS A SHE. She can’t be Boris. We should name her differently.” — Niki. A comment from a Vietnamese: “Good decision. My family made a big mistake not to leave VN on April 1975. We had lived through hell for 5 years and 3 months. Experienced multiple near death situations. Witnessed tons of horrific events….Glad to see you made it out early.”

But just now (7.45 am our time and 1.45 am in Tblisi) Zack. He adds to the target he must now have painted on his back by comparing Putin’s 21st September “partial mobilisation” speech with Goebbels in 1943 on total war!

My original post

That (about storms) is literally so of course what with hurricanes and typhoons… But The Gong had a persistent one for a few hours yesterday evening, though the rain in my immediate area was not outrageous and we jad no hail. Lots of thunder and lightning at times.

There are other kinds of storm of course — Iran for example, and of course Russia vs Ukraine and that brings me to the Russian vlogs again. Just two samples today, from yesterday’s posts on YouTube.

Niki — being in St Petersburg — is careful not to attract unwelcome attention, but his position in crystal clear on the subject of the “referendums”. His quotation marks!

Niki has quite a following:

So does 1420:

And two others I have often shared here:

Roman the Russian

And of course young Zack.

They and others have quite a reach, when you think about it. And they are invaluable given there is so much propaganda out there. Some of them have really reached out: Niki for example was a few months back interviewed on Irish TV, and Canadian News has featured Daniil from 1420.

They are of course also known to one another. Not long ago Niki came to Tbilisi and while there interviewed Roman. And as for Roman — the most flamboyant of them — he acknowledged Zack the Russian’s burning of his military papers beautifully.

Someone you know in that thread too….

Five years ago…

Unbelievable that we ever even thought Trump might have something to offer the world!

Tell us, when will these things happen?

Posted on  by Neil


Signs of the End of the Age

Matthew 24:3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 24:4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many.24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 24:7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 24:8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains.


See Comment: Why Trump’s threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea is extraordinary — even for him

President Trump took to the floor of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday and, in his maiden speech there, called the leader of North Korea “Rocket Man,” decried “loser terrorists” and said certain parts of the world are “in fact, going to hell.”

But Trump’s perhaps oddly chosen colloquialisms masked what was a pretty astounding escalation of his rhetoric when it comes to North Korea. Just to be clear: The president of the United States threatened to wipe a country of 25 million people off the map.

I fear Donald Trump really is mad…

Posted on  by Neil

Unwise, for sure. Now the “other guy” in North Korea is not the full quid either, to be sure. Trouble is, between them these charlies are threatening us all! This is the worst scene I can recall since the Cuban crisis in the early 1960s. And here is something Kennedy had to say.

Kennedy, in his memoirs, wrote about the seven lessons he learned during the crisis, number six being, “Don’t humiliate your opponent,” which is, of course, a central face issue. And, as Ting-Toomey put it, “By understanding the face-honoring process intuitively, intellectually, and diplomatically, the two statesmen learned to honor and give face mutually in the eyes of their salient referents and in the arena of international diplomacy.”

That’s from a 2004 article by Sarah Rosenberg. It’s pretty much a commonplace among those of us who have ever conducted cross-cultural relationships, personal, business, educational or political. Trump just seems to have no idea! He has obviously not grasped the significance of face, especially among Koreans — wherever in the peninsula they live.


That’s me 27 years ago visiting Wollongong with a group of Korean and Mainland Chinese from my class at Wessex College of English in Sydney. It was in that year that I began to learn about face. These students were good teachers.

How it played out for me later you may partly get from a professional post: On welfare issues with Korean-Australian students.

This post has become very long. Written over two days, it has four distinct sections.

— The first part is my immediate response to questions being asked about possible cultural factors in the tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech. It should be noted that I do not aim to “explain” that tragedy.
— Then I present some other posts I have found that take up the same or similar questions. The most significant one comes from a Korean-American pastor.
— In the third section you may read further thoughts based on my own observation of Korean and Korean-Australian students in Australia.
— I conclude with reflections on the need to have a perspective shaped by something more than monoculturalism.


In the past fifteen years I have both at school and in the tuition sector had quite a bit of contact with parents and students in the Korean community. Before that (1990-1991) I learned something of Korean culture and attitudes from young adults studying English at a Sydney language college. Some of the conversations at that college went into some depth. There were some very thoughtful people in the groups I had then, many of whom were very keen to share, at times very personally and very deeply. I was interested as I had known virtually nothing about Koreans before that. What I learned stood me in good stead later on.

That someone in Donald Trump’s position seems not to have a clue about such matters ought to concern all of us. Indeed, he seems to deliberately cultivate his ignorance, preferring rather the stage show of one of his revival meetings to a mature engagement with the problem North Korea presents. That at least is how it seems to me, and it scares me more than I can say! I cannot recall anything quite like it before, not even from Reagan at his “Evil Empire” best, or George W Bush in full “Axis of Evil” mode.


Donald Trump pursuing an Emmy or Academy Award for worst performance as President of the United States.

But also — and I bet one of these everyone has forgotten!

It’s all happening in The Gong

Posted on  by Neil

What a week, starting on Sunday! Not that I will be directly involved.


See Elton John tickets, parking, traffic, food and everything else you need to know for the Wollongong concert .<!– –>

And then there is a Royal Tour on Tuesday!

Wollongong is in for a royal treat, with Prince Andrew, The Duke of York visiting the city in September.

And young entrepreneurs will get the chance to pitch their business ideas to His Royal Highness.

The Duke jumped at University of Wollongong Professor Alex Frino’s invitation to launch the Pitch@Palace Australia program at UOW”s Innovation Campus on September 26.

And here is footage from that Wollongong Concert!

Back to the club yesterday — and Zack the Russian

Yesterday morning I was among the first people on the planet to witness Zack the Russian’s act of defiance against Putin and all he represents! I have since posted this in the sticky post about Russian vloggers. I shared it with some friends. My former colleague at Sydney High and Order of Australia Medal awardee for services in Bali at the time of the bombing there, Russell Darnley, is one who through Twitter has been spreading it further.

Russell is an alumnus, you may say, of the antiwar anticonscription movement in Australia at the time of Vietnam.

Russell when he was 18 years old. “I’ve written about the Vietnam War era in two of my books: Seen and unseen: a century of stories from Asia and the Pacific, and
Beyond Borders: conversations across boundaries.”

So he instantly saw the parallel.

27,560 views in the 9 hours since this appeared and my drafting this post 4.40 pm 26th September. UPDATE: 42,000+ 9.40 am 27th September.

Lighter: back to the Club — images from yesterday

Wollongong’s Lycra Apocalypse over — and an Olympics memory

I stubbornly stayed at home here in West Wollongong — mind you, some residents of our area had little choice in that matter what with street closures and so on, especially in our northern suburbs. But nonetheless the UCI World Championships did prove a success.

Facebook brought up the Sydney Olympics on 25th September 2000!

Go to YouTube….

Indeed — my diary says:

Monday, September 25 2000 [Surry Hills]

What a pain the new tax system is; I have spent the morning doing fiddly little invoices for bits of money that I get from tuition and renting my garage…

What a night in Track and Field! Cathy Freeman’s race was as heart-stopping as Ian Thorpe’s great performances earlier in the games.

It’s ironic, and sad, that when I went downstairs a few minutes after the Women’s 5000 Metres the first thing I saw was one of our local petty thieves going from parked car to parked car with a torch, looking in to see what might be stolen. She, for it was a she, and her boyfriend were about 15 maybe–they come as young as 10–and seem to be part of a regular business; you often see them at it. And I’m afraid to say–they are inevitably Aboriginal. Here in Surry Hills anyway.

So there was a bit of a contrast. Anyone who knows me (or even knows this site) knows I’m 100% for reconciliation, and furthest from my mind is to say that Aboriginal people are more likely to be thieves than any other people under circumstances I can only guess about. At the same time it’s fair to say that right here in Surry Hills (and nearby areas) there are services for and run by Aboriginal people, heaps of them: it is tragic to see the crime (and drunkenness/drugs) cycle still sucking young ones in. And it is a feature of life for us inner-city residents, and a hazard for shop-owners.

I (part-Aboriginal myself remember) don’t have a panacea for this; but the Cathy Freemans of this world can’t but do good. And my delightful friend Kristina, and others I’ve met. And the phenomenon probably has more with being an underclass, rather than Aboriginality as such.

This mornng Facebook dredged up another memory:

Which they won!

Not this year I’m afraid.

But back to yesterday’s great road race — Chilby Photography has posted a wonderful photo-set on Facebook: